First-Generation Scholarship Contest

Nursing student Delena Tadesse takes first place

The Second Annual First-Generation Scholarship Contest at Inver Hills Community College wrapped up with five winners. Public voting ended April 1, 2022, and Delena Tadesse, a Nursing student, took first place.

Alicia Atwater serves as a TRIO Student Support Services advisor at Inver Hills. Alicia reported that the scholarship contest was designed by a former TRIO mentor.

“The contest had an artistic nature and students were asked to be creative in describing what it means to be a first-generation college student,” Alicia said. “Submissions could be written pieces, works of art, videos, photography, and more.”

The five scholarship winners

  • First place: Delena Tadesse
  • Second place: Kenny Flores
  • Third place: Katelynn Helinske
  • Fourth place: Laura Perez Zamarron
  • Fifth place: Karina Villeda

Delena Tadesse

Delena Tadesse
First place: Second Annual First-Generation Scholarship Contest
Submission: Poem
Hometown: Minneapolis
Current residence: Fridley, Minnesota
Major and degree earning at Inver Hills: Nursing, A.S. in Nursing
Planned Inver Hills graduation date: May 2023
Transfer plans after Inver Hills: Metropolitan State University, B.S.N.
Career plans: Become an NICU nurse

Delena Tadesse Q & A:

What advice would you give other first-generation college students?
The advice I’d give to first-generation students is to never give up on your dreams and make sure your dreams are your own and not the dreams of your parents. We have a tremendous amount of pressure on us so continue staying true to yourself.

What do you like best about attending Inver Hills?
My favorite thing about attending Inver Hills is the faculty. I really like my instructors and advisors. Overall, a friendly and accepting place to go to school and also work. I’m grateful for all the staff and opportunities here!

Where to hope to find yourself in 20 years?
In 20 years, I see myself completing a masters degree in nursing and teaching.

First generation poem

by Delena Tadesse

What does it mean to me a first gen,
It means you’re an honor to your family, a gem.
No one understands the generational curses you break,
When you decide to strive to go to college instead of flake.
You’re defeating the odds, why would you be sad?
Because I’m struggling and no one understands.
To all those nights I stayed up and cried,
Because of all the pressure that lies.
To the anxiety, depression and fear,
The battle of failing feels too near.
To all the support I receive from the college,
Sometimes I don’t give them enough of their flowers.
Because of this community I’ve made it this far,
I’m striving to be a special star.
From the scholarships, grants and support,
Thank you for giving us what our parents couldn’t afford.
To all the mom and dads that made minimum wage,
Thank God to this nation for still making a way.
To the mommies and daddies that couldn’t help,
Who signed us up for tutoring and that made them melt.
To the single parents still denying,
Don’t give up, it’s trying
The future you’re giving your kids,
It’s worth the bid, fighting,
It comes with a lot of sacrifice,
It’ll be very nice,
Walking across the stage, knowing that you made it,
The most important task ever created.
To go to college and finish,
Is every first generation parent’s biggest wishes.
Don’t give up, your family is ready to give you your hugs and kisses!

Learn more about the First-Generation Scholarship Contest at Inver Hills by contacting:

TRIO Student Support Services
Inver Hills Community College

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